Red Rocks Redux

7.31.09 Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

7.31.09 Red Rocks (G.Lucas)

Wow! What an amazing four nights.  I can’t recall the last time I sat in an airport waiting for a post-Phish flight with such an optimistic glow.  Even a two-hour delay couldn’t damper my spirits with all eights sets on my iPod to peruse.  All the buildup behind the comeback, along with many jaded doubts and questions of whether the band could recapture their past glory, were put to rest more quickly than anyone could have imagined in Morrison’s live music mecca last weekend.  With a stand that will no-doubt go down in band history, Phish’s improvisational prowess returned to the forefront of their game, igniting a passionate fire in the community for the rest of this tour and the future of the band.  The mind-bending geological surroundings added a sense of majesty to the surreal affair whose indelible memories- musical, visual, and experiential- will not soon fade.

7.31.09 (A King)

7.31.09 (B.Carlson)

Not only was the band’s audacious jamming back in play, but they were also incredibly sharp through most complex compositions all weekend, infusing them with an fierce energy only derived from enhanced comfort and collective confidence.  The tentative feel that permeated many of June’s jams was gone, and Phish- like years past- improvised on the fly without hesitation.  Due to these shifts the entire live experience felt completely different with the band far less calculative and far more in the moment.  It genuinely felt that we- band and crowd- were again united in exploring the musical abyss on nightly psychedelic roller-coaster rides.  After night one, all we knew to expect was the unexpected, and that is what Phish has always been about.

7.31.09 (W.Rogell)

7.31.09 (W.Rogell)

The overwhelming emotions of the weekend were awe and disbelief as everyone’s expectations were blown out of the water with each successive set.  The highlights of the four nights are too many to discuss in any short overview, but suffice it to say that most of June has been rendered irrelevant in the face of Red Rocks’ improvisational greatness.  Camden and Deer Creek and some other highlights may sneak their way into the stereo every now and again, but everything else seems quite bland all of a sudden- and this is exactly what we were hoping for.  Stepping stones; we knew Phish’s return to prominence would unfold in stages, but the difference between stage two and stage three has been astronomical.  Perhaps the band hung out inseparably for five weeks and engaged in some latter-day Oh Kee Pah Ceremonies- who knows- but something crystallized in that time that allowed the band to step on stage this past weekend in a completely different form than we left them in at Alpine Valley.

7.31.09 (W.Rogell)

7.31.09 (W.Rogell)

Both as a band and as individuals, their playing was more open-ended and exploratory, resulting in multi-faceted music that seethed with cohesive energy.  Without feeling the need to push their jams in any particular direction, something that seemed prevalent in June, the weekend’s improv was strewn with incomparable creativity and excitement.  While all members are playing at a high level, both Mike and Trey certainly stood out.  Mike’s one-of-kind bass cushion complemented Trey’s fiery and fluid licks, playing off of each other with renewed originality.  And all music aside, the four of them continue to have a blast on stage together, constantly laughing and cracking jokes amongst themselves.  The boys are most definitely back in town.

8.2.09 (G.Lucas)

8.2.09 (G.Lucas)

And these were only the first four nights!  It was easy to forget that these represented only one third of the shows on tap, as we spent most of a week settled in the mountains.  Over the course of the next fortnight, the adventures will continue to intensify as Phish makes stops at some of their most legendary venues.  This Wednesday’s Shoreline gig is poised to explode as a mid-week sleeper with many fans heading straight to The Gorge for next weekend.  You can mark it down now- The Gorge will transform into one of the lasting highlights of the Summer as the prodigal band returns to their Northwest home.  Stopping in the Midway and moving back to the Northeast, it is hard to imagine the level of playing that may develop by the time the band reaches SPAC- not to mention Indio and beyond.  As Run-DMC one rhymed in a holiday verse that accurately depicts the current state of the Phish scene,” “The time is now, the place is here and the whole wide world is filled with cheer.”  But this year, Christmas came five months early.



7.30.09 Red Rocks (Matrix) < TORRENT

7.30.09 Red Rocks (Matrix) < MEGAUPLOAD

A great sounding matrix of night one that was passed my way.  (I don’t know the actual source and don’t have the FLACS.) Thanks, Mat!

I: The Divided Sky, Ocelot, The Wedge, Poor Heart, The Moma Dance, Horn, Stash, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Possum
II: Mike’s Song > I am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Ghost > Wolfman’s Brother, Limb By Limb, Billy Breathes, The Squirming Coil, David Bowie
E: Loving Cup

7.31.09 Red Rocks (W.Rogell)

—————7.31.09 Red Rocks (Photo: Wendy Rogell)

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344 Responses to “Red Rocks Redux”

  1. Ewok Says:

    Last day of work tomorrow before the Gorge! 2nd & 3rd shows here I come! Much prettier venue than Desert Sky Pavillion (aka Cricket Pavillion) in PHX and hopefully a hotter show than 11/xx/2000.

    I’ve listened to the RR run nospoilers style and I found the anticipation while listening similar to being at a live show and wondering what was coming next. Thank you Mr. Miner and board for the mostly friendly discourse as well.

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    “your photo selection is great! however, the link he posted has photos much larger. i can tell when d’ling, and blowing up. the ones you post get a little gritty, while that link has photos that when blown up to full screen, are crystal.”

    ^ huh? When you click on a photo it blows up to full size….it should / and does for me…

  3. brandofunk Says:

    miner thank you for all you do !!!!

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ cheers brando 🙂

  5. fromthetub Says:

    In all my preparations for the Gorge, it slipped my mind that we have our hometown show tomorrow! We’ve got great seats and I’ll try to get some good shots for you tomorrow, Mr. Miner! (WR) Whoooo-hooooooo!!!

  6. Mugician Says:

    Since 12/31 is the culmination of ’95, what about the three nights preceding it? Are they hot?

  7. KWL Says:

    ^in a word, yes.

    You can’t go wrong with December 95, they all smoke. Seriously! 🙂

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ check out Miner’s picks Dec. 95. One jam from each show in the month…

  9. halcyon Says:

    8-1-09 Curtain….is amazing….Trey’s licks almose seem as if he was paying an homage to Jerry….

    Such good music this 4 day set

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    “8-1-09 Curtain….is amazing….Trey’s licks almose seem as if he was paying an homage to Jerry….”

    ^ I thought the same thing…..

  11. larry bird flu Says:

    curtain into mound… can you ask for anything more? what a great weekend

  12. butter Says:

    just did an hour of yoga with my wife and daughter to 8-1-09 second set. Good stuff. Free, Esther, Dirt, Hood has me centered and right for shoreline. Daughter is excited.

  13. Mugician Says:

    So, while waiting in line on Thursday, the band was sound checking with TTE. And on those stairs, I realized that I love the song.

    Now, today, listening to the song over and over and over again, I’m realizing that not only do I love the song, it’s my new favorite Phish tune.

    *Not my favorite new tune, but my new favorite tune…*

  14. Mugician Says:

    Yoga to Phish? Interesting… very.

  15. butter Says:

    yes, i set my sleeping monkey free

  16. themanatee Says:

    yoga and phish go together like ram – a -lamma -lamm – you know…great!

  17. Robear Says:

    ^Mugs, yeah, the 12-28, 29, and 30 – 95 rip. Real me > bathtub gin > real me, etc. etc. etc. get em. They’re on, if nothing else.

    Butter, how old is your daughter? This is great! I’m bringing my 9 year old daughter. Let’s get together. I’ll be at Will Call around 4:45 to meet Waterwheel. She’d love to meet some other kids. She kept asking if I saw any at RR. I said, not too many, all the parents flew to that show, and left the kids with sitters.

  18. Hiyo Says:

    Question on the Matrix download—how do you change the file order so that it plays in show order—not by track, then alphabetically? Do I have to download it differently?

    kingregan_2000 at

  19. ThePigSong Says:

    I’m working my way through last weekend highlight-by-highlight, and this Tweezer SMOKES!

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